Monday, May 18, 2009

Nortel - the misery continues

I was very sorry to see the story on the Register of "Nortel Confirms Fire Sale - and shrinking revenues" . It is a dreadful situation for the employees to be in and not much fun for their existing customers either.

I was particularly struck by the short paragraph towards the end mentioning that Nortel employees were to demonstrate outside parliament over their dissmisal without notice or redundancy payment. This has been reported on the UK contact centre sites (see for example "Ex-Nortel staff lobby Parliament" on Call Centre Focus), but I'm surprised that none of the mainstream news organisations have featured it more prominently. It seems very harsh, if reports are accurate, that staff lost their jobs with no notice while at the same time the administrators approved executive multi-million bonus payments.

I appreciate that the troubles at Nortel are no surprise, and even this blog had problems at Nortel as one of its predictions for 2009 (see "First of my contact centre predictions for 2009 happens - Nortel"), but there's no satisfaction in seeing the what's happening.

I think this story will run and run, as while at the moment we're looking at the 229 staff who are demonstrating over the administrators actions, the pension fund will be the story soon. There's not been much since January when the size of the pension fund deficit was revealed (apart from this story in March in the Guardian "Nortel pension fund deficit rocks state lifeboat"), but the pensions will affect perhaps 43,000 people or more. If the administrators Ernest and Young think that there are problems now, it could be nothing compared to what happens if there are any issues with the pension fund.

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